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ChaosTitan
06-17-2011, 02:11 AM
I saw this link via Twitter earlier (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110616/wr_nm/us_amazon_kindle_spam?&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter), and I thought it would interest you good folks here, since it's a problem that will affect Kindle self-publishers.


Thousands of digital books, called ebooks, are being published through Amazon's self-publishing system each month. Many are not written in the traditional sense.


Instead, they are built using something known as Private Label Rights, or PLR content, which is information that can be bought very cheaply online then reformatted into a digital book.


These ebooks are listed for sale -- often at 99 cents -- alongside more traditional books on Amazon's website, forcing readers to plow through many more titles to find what they want.

Medievalist
06-17-2011, 02:13 AM
This is what's been known as shovelware.

A lot of the books are public domain books, or wikipedia content.

James D. Macdonald
06-17-2011, 02:17 AM
Adding this link from last April back into the mix: http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/012933.html

veinglory
06-17-2011, 02:41 AM
PLR is even worse that shovelware IMHO.

Capital
06-17-2011, 03:58 AM
What confuses me is why is Amazon still allowed to sell this shit. Shouldn't customers be up in arms? Shouldn't there be lawsuits and shit? This is fucking sad.

thothguard51
06-17-2011, 04:04 AM
Most average readers don't know, or don't care.

All in all, I wonder sometimes why I continue. It seems the self publishing via e-wave is killing the very industry I cherish...

James D. Macdonald
06-17-2011, 04:08 AM
The spammers don't care. One copy of a thousand books, a thousand copies of one book, it's all the same to them. The cost of creating and uploading those books is close to zero.

And Amazon doesn't care either. One copy of a thousand books or a thousand copies of one book, their cut (and their profit) is the same. Plus, they can boast about how many books they have.

Check out The Kindle Swindle (http://www.publishingtrends.com/2011/03/the-kindle-swindle/).

Capital
06-17-2011, 04:11 AM
It's pretty clear that Amazon has no monetary incentive to remove the spam... they make money off it just like they make money off legitimate books. My question is, with Kindle exploding in the last year, why aren't there armies of hurt customers standing at Amazon's gates?

James D. Macdonald
06-17-2011, 04:20 AM
Possibly because the customers figure, "Heck, $0.99, who cares?" More of a hassle to object than to just forget it.

leigh78
06-17-2011, 05:13 AM
It's pretty clear that Amazon has no monetary incentive to remove the spam... they make money off it just like they make money off legitimate books. My question is, with Kindle exploding in the last year, why aren't there armies of hurt customers standing at Amazon's gates?

If it's reported to Amazon, people are reporting that it's being removed. It's being suggested that maybe Amazon should issue a fee to upload in order to dissuade this type of thing. As someone who is considering self-publishing, I have no problem with that. Publishing is a business and I'll just look at it as the cost of doing business. As a reader, and for any of my readers, I'll be thankful if Amazon can figure out some way to dissuade this or dissuade people who aren't very serious about publishing and just throwing up a bunch of crap.

And thotguard51, self-publishers are not killing the very industry you love. Yes, things are changing. But change just happens and we all have to learn to adapt. It's already happened in the music industry and elsewhere. Apparently now it's books. I protested at first as well. But then I sat back and really started thinking about it. From a business perspective, I love it. (I have a HUGE entrepreneurial streak in me) After coming to that realization, I began giving indy authors (I'm NOT saying indy publishers!!! *not trying to start a war here - I understand that indy publishers is already an industry term*) a chance. I've been finding some really good stuff. But then, I don't just randomly download books (even the .99 ones). I rely on reviews and word of mouth. Also cover art and blurb - you can tell how professional that author is being by their cover art + blurb. If the outside is good, then they probably were serious about the inside as well. The self-publishing/indy author boards I've been lurking on do have some very serious people stressing the importance of spending the $$ on good editing and designed covers - to treat it as the business it is. Because, in my opinion, if you are going to self-publish then you can't forget about the publishing part. Publishing is a business. Someone serious about self-publishing isn't going to slap a rough draft together and upload it on Amazon. (And I think there needs to be a distinction between self-publishing and vanity publishing. Self-publishing is doing all of the work yourself - or hire out specifics just like the publishing houses (cover art/editing where you have input and are doing the revisions). You send the books off to the printers - not send it off to somewhere that does all of the work for you. But - just my opinion. Others are fee to disagree.)

At the present time, this slapping together and uploading is happening. However, as I said above, there are a lot of serious business people in the self-publishing industry raising their voice and encouraging the new authors to be professional about it. Overtime, I honestly believe that the crap will begin to decline as those people don't make enough sells to justify their time/cost spent to produce a book and the serious self-publishers (the one who actually publish -aka: hire editors, hire cover artists, learn formatting) will be left standing. We're just in the transition period right now, that's all. It's frustrating to you who only want to trad pub but things will start getting better in another year or two.

But, the trad publishing houses aren't going anywhere. You will always be able to pursue publishing how you want.

shaldna
06-17-2011, 02:08 PM
What confuses me is why is Amazon still allowed to sell this shit. Shouldn't customers be up in arms? Shouldn't there be lawsuits and shit? This is fucking sad.

The issue with it is that the 'books' in question are composed of information that is either in the public domain, or to which the 'author' has rights to. In the end, legally, it's the same as any other book.

Customers are up in arms, but at the end of the day, these composite books are, in essence, just like any other public domain works out there - which means anyone can publish them.

As for lawsuits - who are you going to take action against?

efkelley
06-17-2011, 03:03 PM
A way around it is to require an ISBN. Since the spammers are relying on selling one copy each of a thousand books, requiring an ISBN bumps that to a hundred copies of one book (at .99c).

shaldna
06-17-2011, 04:15 PM
A way around it is to require an ISBN. Since the spammers are relying on selling one copy each of a thousand books, requiring an ISBN bumps that to a hundred copies of one book (at .99c).

Those composite books all have ISBN's to be sold on Amazon. Or are you talking about authors having to buy thier own before they are able to upload a book?

Vaguely Piratical
06-17-2011, 04:51 PM
Amazon does take them down if they are reported, and has given me a refund when I asked. it's a pain, but there really isn't that much to get up in arms about. Amazon really should do something more about it, for there own sake, though. I no longer buy non-fiction from Kindle. It is no more reliable than a random internet article.

JanDarby
06-17-2011, 08:02 PM
It's happening at smashwords too. Out of curiosity while skimming new releases at smashwords, I read the sample for a book on "how to write a romance novel" by some entity I'd never heard of. The sample pages consisted of a table of contents -- rife with typos -- and then about a dozen pages of "to read more, buy the book and support the author." Which kind of defeats the idea of providing a sample.

Needless to say, I was not even remotely tempted to buy the book.

James D. Macdonald
06-20-2011, 06:59 PM
And now The Atlantic has noticed (http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/06/spam-books-flooding-kindle-store/240615/), with a note of another auto-generate-Kindle-books program.